Elections 2016Kuwait

Court disbars Dashti again – Candidates slam Iran

KUWAIT: Attendees sit around a large tray of a traditional dish made of camel meat during an election campaign meeting of candidate Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei in Riqqa yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat
KUWAIT: Attendees sit around a large tray of a traditional dish made of camel meat during an election campaign meeting of candidate Al-Humaidi Al-Subaei in Riqqa yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The appeals court yesterday ruled that the registration of former MP Abdulhameed Dashti in the parliamentary election through his son is illegal, depriving the controversial politician from running in the Nov 26 polls. The court said the filing of a nomination application for elections cannot be done through a power of attorney, overturning a ruling by the lower court last week that allowed Dashti to register through his son.

Dashti said on his Twitter account that his lawyer will challenge the ruling at the court of cassation today and will demand that the court, whose rulings are final, to reinstate his registration. Dashti, who has been living outside Kuwait since March, submitted a medical certificate to the lower court stating that he is undergoing medical treatment and cannot return to the country.

Dashti is fighting another battle after the election authority barred him from participating in the polls. The former lawmaker has been sentenced to a total of 31 years and six months in jail by the lower court for insulting Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The cases are still in court. The appeals court will also issue its ruling regarding 13 other candidates who were also barred by the election authorities to run in the polls for a variety of reasons. The court is scheduled to issue its rulings on Sunday.

In other election news, the public prosecution yesterday ordered the detention of four people including two women pending investigation in an alleged case of vote buying for a candidate in the fourth constituency. The suspects were arrested in a raid by police two days ago. They include a lawyer, who is the brother of the candidate.

Kuwait has a long history – with recorded cases – of vote buying. In the 2013 elections, more than 50 people were arrested for organizing vote buying operations. Votes can go for anywhere between KD 500 to KD 2,000, depending on the district and the candidate. Typically, voters are required to swear on the Holy Quran that they will vote for the candidate as a promise. In a now infamous case, one candidate offered women voters designer handbags with KD 1,000 inside in the run-up to the 2006 polls.

Meanwhile, six more candidates withdrew from the race yesterday, bringing the number of hopefuls down to 379, who do not include the 47 candidates barred by election authorities, some of whom are waiting for court rulings. Former MP Talal Al-Jallal, who is bidding for re-election, yesterday categorically denied that police raided his residence in connection with “illegal activities”, as was published on social media. Jallal described the news as “baseless rumors and lies”.

Separately, Islamist former MPs Waleed Al-Tabtabaei and Ali Al-Khamees strongly lashed out at Iran and what they described as their agents in the country. Tabtabaei condemned the pro-Iran and Hezbollah cell that was busted in Kuwait over a year ago, saying that the job of the 25 people who were arrested was to hide weapons and asked about the people who were going to use them.

He said when Islamic State militants smuggled two explosive belts into Kuwait, “we know that two people were going to use it, but if a group smuggles thousands of rifles, then we know that thousands of people will be using them”.
The former lawmaker said authorities should search for those who were supposed to have used the 250 sniper rifles, 3,200 rifles and guns, 19,000 bullets, 59 RPGs and 144 kg of explosives which were caught with the cell members. He claimed that these weapons are sufficient to arm 3,000 people. Khamees said at an election rally Monday night that there are quarters that do not want to see him get re-elected because there are pro-Iran people in the Assembly who found that “my policies contradict theirs”.

By B Izzak

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